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Elderton Homes Blog

The Costs You Haven’t Considered When Building Your First Home

When building your first home, chances are you’re already pretty familiar with the standard, up-front costs. Deposits, stamp duty, land registration and sites costs are common when building your home.

But what you may not have considered are some of the less obvious costs that you’ll need to cover throughout construction.

To make sure you don’t get caught out, we’ve prepared a list of some of the costs you may not have accounted for when planning out the construction of your first home.

Contingency Funds

While it’s everyone’s dream that their project runs smoothly, there can be occasional hiccups and unforeseen problems when undertaking a project of this magnitude. This can be anything from land registration to inclement weather delaying construction schedules. It’s always a good idea to have some contingency funds to cover any unforeseen problems that may arise during the construction phase.

The amount you should have would depend on location and whether the land you are looking to buy or own is registered.

Project Creep

Many low-cost builders and house-and-land developers offer attractive low-cost packages, only to hit you with extra costs once contracts are already signed. Many of these are essential components of your build that should be included in their up-front quote.

Ask yourself: Does your builder offer a fixed price tender? Be sure to carefully review the section about site costs, which sometimes can potentially blow out due to the topography or lay of the land.

Soil Testing And Surveying

Before construction can even begin, builders need to conduct soil testing and land surveying — costs that you will need to cover. This is an essential and compulsory part of the pre-construction process that ensures builders can lay stable foundations for your home, assess the soil reactivity (the likelihood that it will expand or contract) and ensure that it is free from any potentially harmful chemicals that may damage your home.  


Changing your mind and making alterations to your plan mid-project is one of the quickest ways to watch the costs of construction stack up. Every modification you make to your agreed plan will change the design and construction of your home, and you’ll have to absorb the additional costs. It’s important to plan thoroughly before starting construction and stick to it as closely as possible. Deviations from your plan can prove costly.

Essential add-ons

Most home build projects are for the dwelling only. Other essential items such as driveways, gardens, appliances, blinds and window coverings and fences typically come at an additional cost and will have to be organised with qualified tradespeople.

BASIX Certificate

BASIX is a NSW Government scheme designed to ensure that all new dwellings meet certain energy efficiency and sustainability standards. To achieve a BASIX certificate, your new home will need to include compulsory energy and water saving elements that could include anything from water tanks to solar panels. 

Legal Fees

All house build projects involve a certain amount of legal documentation, covering contracts to disbursements. Not surprisingly, this will incur legal and conveyancing fees.

The legal fees solicitors may charge vary, and will depend on their individual rates. Ask for an itemised statement of likely costs in advance so you can get a realistic idea of the scope of legal fees for your entire project.

Get Great Financial Advice

When trying to budget for the whole cost of a home build, make sure you get sound financial advice and planning. Are you pre-approved for the finance you require for the full cost of the home? Do you know how much the whole project will cost you? Have you prepared a detailed budget? These are essential questions to work through with your financial planner before building your home.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Budgeting For Your New Home

Download our free guide The Ultimate First Home Builder Checklist that will help you plan a detailed budget covering the entire cost of building your dream home. 

download my checklist